World Cup 2022: What do England need to progress to last 16 and who can they face? How can they send Wales home early?
The neighbouring nations clash at the World Cup in the final round of Group B matches on Tuesday, with England in a strong position to go through to the knockout stages while Wales face a minor miracle to proceed. Both have so far drawn with the United States but, while Gareth Southgate’s side beat Iran 6-2, Wales slipped to a disappointing 2-0 defeat.
There is likely to be a great atmosphere inside Ahmed bin Ali Stadium as the home nations clash and Pickford is looking forward to something akin to a derby day.
He said: “That (special rivalry) it is, it’s football, it’s great. They’re another good side, they’ll be disappointed, they’ve got one point so they’ll be pushing towards Tuesday, but so are we.
“We’re in control of the group and we’ll go again, get ready, get prepared, 100 per cent and go again Tuesday. It’s tournament football. Getting a clean sheet in the second game after winning the first game is massive. We go into Tuesday against Wales, another tough game, but a game we should be in control of and hopefully get the win.”
What do England need to qualify?
England are top of the group after two matches, meaning that victory over neighbours Wales would see them go into the last 16 as group winners. The Three Lions’ 6-2 win over Iran has given them the upper hand in terms of goal difference meaning that even a loss by three goals or fewer to Wales would still see them advance into the knockout stages – as group winners or runners-up depending on the result in the Iran v USA game.
A draw against Wales will see England top the group unless Iran beat the United States while a loss by three goals or fewer would see them top the group if Iran and the United States drew.
How can England knock Wales out?
Wales can earn a maximum of four points from their three group games following Friday’s dramatic loss to Iran. In any event they would need to beat England to qualify as a draw would only leave them on two points with both Iran and the Three Lions already on more than that total.
If Iran or the USA win, Wales will be out unless they beat England by four or more goals. A four-goal victory takes their goal difference to +2 and England’s to -2. A three-goal win would not be enough as it would put both home nations on a goal difference of +1, likely putting England through on goals scored.
If Wales win and the other game is a draw – leaving England, Wales and Iran on four points – then Rob Page’s side will qualify on goal difference with Iran and Wales currently on -2 goals.
Who can England face in the last 16?
If England top their group, they will face the runners-up of Group A. Senegal, Ecuador, the Netherlands and Qatar make up that pool, although the hosts are out leaving one of the former three to face England. If the Three Lions qualify but as group runners-up, they will face the winners of Group A.